Definition of criteria for overall assessment of animal welfare
Welfare is multidimensional, comprising good health, comfort, expression of behaviour, and so on. Its overall assessment therefore requires a multicriteria evaluation. The set of criteria shall be exhaustive (no missing item), minimal (only necessary items), agreed by stakeholders, and legible (a limited number of criteria). Furthermore, the interpretation from one criterion shall not depend on that from another. We propose a set of 12 subcriteria grouped into four criteria: feeding, housing, health and optimised emotional states. This work will assist in developing measures to be used on-farm to form a European standard for overall assessment of animal welfare.
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